SCARSDALE It’s been nearly 30 years since Fenway Golf Club hosted the Lincoln Met PGA Championship, so a number of interested members took a moment Wednesday to study the scoreboard.
They did not see a lot of red.
In any other neighborhood, this A.W. Tillinghast design would be a headliner. The course is a mere 6,700 yards, but time and technology have not left the Golden Age layout defenseless.
A little wind and rain only added to the grind.
“This is a hidden gem,” St. Andrew’s head pro Greg Bisconti said. “I’ve played so many events here since I was a kid. The green complexes are great. Fenway is among the best courses in the section. It just gets overlooked by places like Winged Foot, Quaker Ridge, Westchester.”
Scoring demands a steady hand.
The greens here can be a humbling experience. One anonymous competitor left behind a Scotty Cameron putter, snapped just below the neck.
“It’s a championship course and it’s set up that way,” Century assistant Frank Bensel said. “If you’re hitting great shots, there’s a reward. If you’re not, you need to be good at getting the ball in the hole and that’s kind of what I did today. I had to save a lot of pars.”
There is likely to be plenty of drama in the final round.
Mike Gilmore (Winged Foot), Tyler Jaramillo (St. Andrew’s), Grant Sturgeon (Winged Foot) and Bisconti are tied for the lead at 2-under. Scott Ford (Glen Oaks) is one shot back. Matt Noel (Huntington), Kyle Baehler (Willow Ridge), Charlie Meola (Saxon Woods) and Bensel are two shots behind.
There are 19 players within five shots of the lead.
“Greg and I were talking at the beginning of the week about getting into the final group,” Jaramillo said. “It’s shocking that it’s actually happening.”
There was room inside the cut line for players who came in at 11-over.
Again, it’s the complexity of the putting surfaces.
“I was talking to another player in the locker room this morning and he described the greens as big and bold,” Fenway head pro Heath Wassem said. “I’ve never really thought of them as big, but the undulations are and the contours are bold. Most players don’t read enough break.
“The bunkering is brutal, too. If you’re in the wrong spot, you have no chance of getting the ball close to the hole for a save.”
Gil Hanse oversaw renovations here in the late 1990s and is currently drawing up a proposal that will restore the greens, move fairway bunkers to account for modern standards and open vistas lost over time.
If the membership signs off, the work could begin in the fall of 2016.
“Truthfully, I’m not sure if some of the members realize how good the golf course is,” Wassem said “They do play a lot of places and ask, ‘Why is this place rated so high?’ I think it’s a lack of visibility. The more people who see it, the more conversation we generate. It’s starting to be less under the radar.”